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RNS holiday gift guide 2021: Treat yourself to cozy socks or a self-care box

Our holiday gift guide is full of ideas for all the people of faith — or no faith — on your list.

(RNS) — After another year of pandemic and politics, it’s time to unplug from the news, unwind from the job and double down on the relationships in your life.

This time of year, many religions celebrate a time of light in the darkness as the days grow shorter and the nights longer. And such celebrations often include gift-giving.

Our annual Religion News Service holiday gift guide can help you find the perfect present for the people of faith — or no faith — on your list. After this past year, we won’t say anything if you want to treat yourself, too. No special occasion necessary.

As in the past, some selections are silly, some sincere, but all come with our best wishes for happy holidays and a wonderful new year.

This post includes some affiliate links.


RELATED: RNS holiday gift guide 2020: Puzzles, prayer cards and more gifts for staying in


Planner for a Magical 2022

Stay connected with your magical and spiritual practices and on top of your plans with Coloring Book of Shadows’ 2022 planner. “Planner for a Magical 2022” by Amy Cesari includes information about magic and astrology, ideas for witchy rituals and self discovery, coloring pages and weekly planner pages. It’s available from Etsy, Amazon and other online retailers in paperback, hardcover, spiral-bound and printable versions.

Ugly Jesus Sweater face mask

Who needs an ugly Christmas sweater when you can have an ugly Christmas face mask like this one? It’s available from Threadless and features perhaps the most infamous botched art restoration in recent history. Perfect for all your holiday activities. 

Days subscription box

Make the holidays easier for yourself this year. Get everything you need for Hanukkah — and every other upcoming Jewish holiday — in Days’ subscription box, delivered four or eight times a year.

‘All the Colors of Christmas’ by Matthew Paul Turner

Looking for a new picture book to read with your kids as they nestle all snug in their beds? Celebrate the season and “All the Colors of Christmas” with progressive Christian author Matthew Paul Turner’s Christmas children’s book or check out his recent bestseller with the late Rachel Held Evans, “What Is God Like?

Sikh candles

Celebrate the holidays without fear and without hate with this set of candles by Thiara Brands on Etsy. They come in four scents, including the holiday-appropriate peppermint clove. And each has a different Sikh sentiment, such as, “Inhale Waheguru, exhale worries.”

‘Atheist who likes presents’ ornament 

Keep it real for the atheist on your holiday shopping list with an “Atheist who likes presents” ornament or coffee mug.

‘The True Story of Santa Claus’ by Janet Giovanelli

For those more interested in Claus-ian than Christian traditions this time of year, gift “The True Story of Santa Claus: The History, the Traditions, the Magic” by Janet Giovanelli. This illustrated keepsake book for all ages traces the journey of Jolly Old St. Nicholas from Turkish archbishop through pagan midwinter traditions, Nordic and German gods and even pop culture.

My Dua’ Pillow

This star-shaped My Dua’ Pillow from Muslim Memories will comfort the little ones on your holiday shopping list with colorful lights and sounds. Push the buttons to hear nighttime duas and a lullaby. Also available on Amazon.

Jewish Space Laser pin

Politicians say the darnedest things. Dissent Pins turned one of this year’s darnedest into an enamel pin, available on its website, that allows wearers to disclose they are part of the “secret Jewish Space Laser Corps.” And, not to mention, are also “Mazel tough!” The design is available on a decoder wheel, patch, T-shirt, hat or 1/400 scale model of a Jewish space laser (actually a laser pointer “purrfect for Jewish cats”).

Hindu board books

Share the stories of Hindu deities with the youngest recipients on your holiday shopping list with this set of board books by Avani M. Sarkar, available on Etsy. It includes “How Ganesh Broke His Tusk,” “The Curious Case of Krishna” and “Hanuman and His Hidden Powers.”

Witchy Stitcher cross-stitch kits

Did anybody on your shopping list take up cross-stitching or other types of embroidery as a stress-reliever during the pandemic? They might enjoy one of Witchy Stitcher’s cross-stitch kits, including spirits from Slavic folklore and witchy sentiments like “We are the granddaughters of the witches you could not burn” and “As above so below.” Or perhaps you want to get them a “Stitch Craft” shirt to wear their hobby with pride.

‘Be Here Now’ bamboo meditation labyrinth

Be here for the holidays with this wooden meditation labyrinth available from Buddha Groove.

‘Saint Nicholas the Giftgiver’ by Ned Bustard

Why do Christians give gifts at Christmastime? Author and illustrator Ned Bustard blends biography, legend and rhyme reminiscent of the beloved poem “The Night Before Christmas” to tell the story of St. Nicholas, the saint who inspired Santa Claus, in the first book from IVP Kids: “Saint Nicholas the Giftgiver.”

Crystal Zodiac earrings

Be ready — and accessorized — for anything 2022 brings your way with this set of Crystal Zodiac earrings by Alchemy Abstract on Etsy. The sets include three pairs of studs featuring crystals carefully selected to complement the energy of each Zodiac sign.

Self-care box

Treat yourself or anybody else on your holiday shopping list with this self-care box from Monastery Creations on Etsy. It includes a number of all-natural products crafted by the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. Products include a vanilla candle that is hand poured and blessed with holy water and soap that contains prayers for whoever might use it, as well as lip balm, sugar scrub and lotion.

‘Braiding Sweetgrass’ by Robin Wall Kimmerer

For the plant person (which, let’s be honest, is pretty much everyone these days) and book lover on your list, consider Milkweed Editions’ hardcover of Robin Wall Kimmerer’s bestselling book “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants,” named one of the 10 best essay collections of the decade by LitHub. The special edition, which features five color illustrations by artist Nate Cristopherson, is a fitting tribute to these essays, which weave together Kimmerer’s knowledge of plants both as a botanist and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, honoring both science and Indigenous spirituality and teachings.

American Girl Cultural Celebration Collection

Celebrating Diwali, Hanukkah, Christmas or Kwanzaa this holiday season? Now your favorite American Girl doll can join you — or the kids on your list — with these outfits and accessories from the new Cultural Celebration Collection. From the popular line of dolls and books that tell the stories of American girls throughout history to the present day, this capsule collection also includes outfits for Eid al-Fitr and Lunar New Year. It’s available in American Girl stores across the country or in the Celebration Shop on the company’s website.

Haute Hijab gift set

The hijabi on your list can have a good hijab day every day with this Haute Hijab gift set featuring its bestselling jersey hijab in light mink, a shaping scrunchie and no-snag hijab gold magnets to hold everything in place.

‘7 Days of Christmas’ by Jen Hatmaker

Don’t we all wish we could go back in time and rewrite something we shared 10 years ago? That’s what popular Christian author Jen Hatmaker did this year, rereleasing her breakout book “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Success” as “Simple and Free: 7 Experiments Against Excess,” complete with a study guide and guided journal perfect for gifting. Looking for something with a little more Christmas spirit? Check out “7 Days of Christmas: A Season of Generosity,” a pretty holiday gift book also inspired by “7.”

‘Jesus Be Knowin’ T-shirt

Keep it comfy — and fashionable — over the holidays with the original “Jesus Be Knowin” T shirt by lifestyle and apparel brand Jesus Be Knowin.

‘Knish Me, I’m Jewish’ socks

These “Knish Me, I’m Jewish” men’s socks from HOTSOX put a fun and funny twist on a classic holiday gift item.

Squishable Baphomet

Baphomet, the goat deity of occult and mystical traditions, has never looked so cuddly! And who couldn’t use a hug after this past year? This stuffed animal — er, deity — comes from Squishable, the popular line of giant, fuzzy round creatures.

Dirty Cookie Hanukkah cookie decorating kit

Christmas doesn’t have a monopoly on holiday baking. Dirty Cookie’s decorate-your-own Cookie Shot kit makes a fun, tasty and Kosher addition to any Hanukkah celebration. Just add milk, coffee or another beverage of choice. L’chaim!

Tazama African Tarot deck

The Rider-Waite Tarot deck — also known as the Smith-Waite or Rider-Waite-Smith deck after illustrator Pamela Colman Smith — is the most easily recognizable Tarot deck out there. The Tazama African Tarot deck puts a new spin on the 1909 deck, offering an African interpretation of its illustrations with cards depicting historic African women and men from different places and times.


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